Monday, March 29, 2021

The American Newspaper Is Dying

Dare I say, this is slightly misleading. Anyway, it’s still worth a post. The information comes from one Freddie de Boer, a leftist who writes on Substack. Powerline reports the salient points (via Maggie’s Farm). As I have occasionally remarked, some considerable pushback against our new media overlords has been coming from the left. One should not ignore it.

As Steven Hayward astutely notes, the New York Times 1619 Project, a tissue of lies, distortions and fabrications is a symptom of the intellectual decline of newspapers. If the nation’s greatest newspaper has become a propaganda sheet, what hope is there for the rest of the industry.

The basic point, to be classed under the category-- go woke, go broke-- involves the decline and fall of the American newspaper industry. De Boer reports:

  • U.S. newspaper circulation fell in 2018 to its lowest level since 1940, the first year with available data. Total daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) was an estimated 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday in 2018. Those numbers were down 8% and 9%, respectively, from the previous year. Both figures are now below their lowest recorded levels, though weekday circulation first passed this threshold in 2013.

  • Newspaper revenues declined dramatically between 2008 and 2018. Advertising revenue fell from $37.8 billion in 2008 to $14.3 billion in 2018, a 62% decline.

  • Newsroom employment at U.S. newspapers dropped by nearly half (47%) between 2008 and 2018, from about 71,000 workers to 38,000. Newspapers drove a broader decline in overall U.S. newsroom employment during that span.

  • Layoffs continue to pummel U.S. newspapers. Roughly a quarter (27%) of papers with an average Sunday circulation of 50,000 or more experienced layoffs in 2018. The layoffs came on top of the roughly one-third (31%) of papers in the same circulation range that experienced layoffs in 2017. What’s more, the number of jobs typically cut by newspapers in 2018 tended to be higher than in the year before.

Stick a fork in them. They’re done. 

De Boer explains that the fault lies with university humanities departments. These places produced a generation of brainwashed minions, people who know nothing beyond certain ideologically driven narratives. I would happily declare them all to be leftist narratives, of oppression and rebellion, but they also included the theory of deconstruction, a product of a Nazi philosopher who was a great supporter of Ernst Rohm’s Storm Troopers. For the record, deconstruction is something of a misnomer. The practice resembles nothing, if not a pogrom.

In De Boer's words:

In the span of a decade or so, essentially all professional media not explicitly branded as conservative has been taken over by a school of politics that emerged from humanities departments at elite universities and began colonizing the college educated through social media. Those politics are obscure, they are confusing, they are socially and culturally extreme, they are expressed in a bizarre vocabulary, they are deeply alienating to many, and they are very unpopular by any definition. The vast majority of the country is not woke, including the vast majority of women and people of color. How could it possibly be healthy for the entire media industry to be captured by any single niche political movement, let alone one that nobody likes? Why does no one in media seem willing to have an honest, uncomfortable conversation about the near-total takeover of their industry by a fringe ideology?

And the bizarre assumption of almost everyone in media seems to have been that they could adopt this brand of extreme niche politics, in mass, as an industry, and treat those politics as a crusade that trumps every other journalistic value, with no professional or economic consequences. They seem to have thought that Americans were just going to swallow it; they seem to have thought they could paint most of the country as vicious bigots and that their audiences would just come along for the ride.

Note that de Boer indicts the whole of the media here. After all, as we have been burying newspaper journalism, the task of reporting news has been given to the social media giants, Facebook, Google and Twitter. Strangely, these capitalist behemoths have been proselytizing the same radical and extremist theories that are destroying newspapers.

Obviously, no one is having an honest open conversation about the new extremist social media because they would otherwise be canceled. Unless, of course, they find their way to Substack. It’s the power of monopoly. It can be carried out by a propaganda ministry in a totalitarian country, but it is now carried out by social media titans in our totalitarian country.


nishdoogedacht said...

When I grew up in NY, I was outraged that the price of the NY Times had doubled from five to ten cents (the Daily News didn't match--only going from five to seven cents at the time).

Today a newsstand copy of the NY Times is $3. AYFKM??!

They obviously consider themselves to be a luxury product and don't particularly want the deplorables privy to the important stories that they cover.

I gave up on them in 1994 and have never bought a copy or subscribed online since.

Sam L. said...

As I keep saying, I don't KNOW if the media is/are a wholly-owned subsidairy of the DEM Party, or if it's the other way round, but I despise, detest, and TOTALLY distrust it because it's OBVIOUS to me that they are in CAHOOTS. The TV news, too (which I do not watch). It/they Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee to us. I trust them NOT.

Anonymous said...

The numbers are more grim than face value. One could assume the circulation numbers are per capita. They are not. They USA’s population in 1940 was 132 million. In 2018, it was 326 million. The population has increased 247%, while readership is down by total circulation. This is devastating. When you consider that only 2.9% of Americans were not able to read or write in 1940, the sheer devastation piles on.

If you look at the Pew Research Center 2019 source data (link provided in post), you will notice the graph shows that decline began just after 1990, which began as a slide and then became a cliff. Is it any wonder why? Clinton was elected in 1992, and the press was completely in the bag for his agenda. Pathetic stuff. Then you’ll notice the cliff began around 2008 — when The One was elected — and the press cooed and felt tingles up their leg. Creepy stuff.

A literate people are not stupid. If they have the means to subscribe to a newspaper, they can probably discern when they’re being lied to, and then indoctrinated. This had little to do with the internet. This is people voting with their wallets. This is a quiet revolt.

Leftists are destroyers. It’s what they do. To everything. Including their own media organs.

KCFleming said...

I cannot imagine actually *paying* to read agitprop.

Sam L. said...

The NY&T, the WaPoo, and the tv "news" are the worst of them.

Sam L. said...

Sorry about the "&". BAD finger! BAD!!

LordSomber said...

J-schools are just as much to blame as the humanities, as well as the media behemoths themselves. Newspapers are not innovative by nature (CraigsList destroyed their classifieds) and most do not invest back into the existing talent that they once had.

Newspapers will live on in the form of small town weeklies, but the major metros are all but dead.

mrsizer said...

treat those politics as a crusade that trumps every other journalistic value, with no professional or economic consequences

I beg to differ - and the data is in the same article. The professional and economic consequences are devastating, just not "up close and personal". The invisible hand is bitch-slapping the industry.

When the Rocky Mountain News was going under, I had a wonderful daydream of reviving it. Starting with gathering all the employees in a room and asking anyone who was in journalism to "change the world" to raise their hand - then firing everyone with their hand up. Their job is to report the news, not change the world.